Portsmouth politicians urge government to be 'driven by the science' over lockdown delay decision

CITY politicians are urging government to be ‘driven by the science’ as a delay to lockdown easing on June 21 could be announced on Monday.

Saturday, 12th June 2021, 2:58 pm

Prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed he will reveal a decision on the next steps of the roadmap in two days’ time, following pressure from scientists amid concerns over current Covid infection rates.

Professor Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to the government and chair of the independent Sage group, said on Monday the latest data was ‘evidence of another wave appearing.’

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Portsmouth City Council leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson. Picture: Sarah Standing (191119-2516)

Speaking to the BBC today (June 12) from the G7 summit in Cornwall, Mr Johnson said: ‘We’re looking at the data today, again you’ve got hospitalisations up you've got cases up there are grounds for caution.

‘The roadmap was always cautious but irreversible and in order to have an irreversible roadmap you’ve got to be cautious and we’ll be spelling out exactly what we’re doing on Monday.’

In the seven days up to June 11, 52 new Covid cases were identified in Portsmouth - or 24.2 per 100,000 people.

Across the UK 36,876 cases were recorded in that time, equal to 55.2 out of 100,000 people.

Prime minister Boris Johnson. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Portsmouth City Council leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson believed nationwide restrictions would be more effective than local lockdowns.

He said: ‘Infection rates in Portsmouth are still very low and on Tuesday when I was given the data we were one of the places with fewer cases of the Delta variant (also known as the Indian variant) - below five.

‘But actually one of the things we find in previous lockdowns is that doing local lockdowns doesn’t really work - it needs to be done across the whole country. Looking at the data for the whole country there are places in the north west where we have got numbers up to 500.

‘If that’s the case then logically we should be continuing the lockdown further.

‘The decision has to be driven by the science, that’s the sensible thing to do.’

It comes as it has been confirmed that the variant first identified in India, now known as Delta, is becoming the most dominant in Hampshire

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan added: ‘The prime minister recklessly refused to act on repeated warnings to secure our borders against Covid and its variants, putting his own roadmap out of lockdown at risk.

‘That’s why I have been lobbying government and calling for ministers to act with speed in response to increased prevalence of the variant.

‘This decision by government must first and foremost be driven by the data.’

Reports have suggested the prime minister could push back lockdown easing by at least two weeks to allow more people to be vaccinated.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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